TERM 1

This course will provide students a transversal view of the financial markets and of their key regulatory pillars and will therefore help them grasp more effectively the content of the other specialised courses of the programme. The course will review the evolution of the banking business model and articulate the seeds of the financial crisis. It will outline the role of the main actors in the financial industry, including assets managers, investment funds and fund managers, global and local custodians, as well as infrastructure companies. It will also describe key financial products, such as securities and derivatives, as well as specific products such as money market funds, repurchase agreements, credit default swaps, and covered bonds. It will provide a high level picture of the regulatory and supervisory evolution, which will be examined in greater details in other courses. It will furthermore detail some of the important governance regulation following the financial crisis, and its relevance to risk management in the financial industry.

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Significant changes in the corporate external reporting environment have led to proposals for fundamental changes in reporting practices. Recent influential reports have suggested that a variety of new information types be reported, in particular forward-looking, non-financial and soft information. Aimed at postgraduate students, this course will provide a readily accessible descriptive overview of the current state of corporate external information, its use and misuse, changes currently being debated, and its role in meeting the demand for greater societal needs. Subject matters addressed through this course will include amongst others:

  • The underlying general theory of corporate reporting;
  • The international dimension of financial reporting;
  • The roles and responsibilities in the reporting chains;
  • The expectations of users and potential recipients of information;
  • The failures of accounting, the missing metrics, and the earnings game;
  • The information, expectation gaps, and catalysts for changes.

The course is built on a combination of academics and guest speakers. and will refer to real-life quoted companies corporate reports and other public information, in a way that is aimed to provide students with tutorial and practical business case material. Mandatory and optional pre-reading material will also be distributed during the programme.

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This course will provide participants with principles, tools, techniques and approaches to assess investment and financing decisions. In the light of the financial asset-liability view of the firm, the course will start with the valuation of projects, financial assets and the firm globally. The second part will be devoted to financing and the operations related to it: the sources of financing, the composition of the capital structure, the assessment of credit risk, the design of financing contracts, M&As and IPOs. The third part will use the previous two to address some issues related to corporate risk management & governance, including FX, interest-rate and commodities risk management. Throughout the course, we will show how the principles of the valuation paradigm used by financial markets are inherent to any financial decision: the no-arbitrage principle, the liquidity requirement and the problems related to illiquidity, the need of a certain degree of market freedom, the probabilistic approaches to asset pricing, etc… This course will involve team work in preparing case studies in class in small groups.

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This course is designed for students who do not yet have a background in finance or are looking for a refresh.
It will provide the necessary basis for students to follow the more technical courses of the Specialised Master in Financial Markets.
It complements the course of “Principles of Mathematics and Economics” and also brings up the latest developments in Corporate Finance.
It will articulate the principles, tools and techniques to assess investment and financing decisions made by firms, in their intimate relationship with financial markets.
Referring to the arbitrage principle in financial decision-making, the course will start with the key foundations of finance, the valuation principles in general and the understanding of the requirement of return given a level of risk.
The second part will be devoted to the valuation of the various asset classes, projects and firms, including the arbitrage principle in financial decision-making, time value of money, interest rate management and bond portfolio management, project valuation, capital markets and the price of risk.
Students will be advised to undertake readings for each subject, and will work as well on exercises for each theme to be covered in class in small groups.

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The insights of economics are needed to understand the underlying fundamentals of firm profitability and growth – and thus their financial valuation –, government interventions, and important economic trends.
The course Principles of Economics provides a short and accessible introduction to postgraduate students that are not familiar with the basic insights of economics, with a strong focus on microeconomics and the workings of markets. This will allow the students to better understand the models and techniques used in the courses taught, a.o., in the Advanced Master in Financial Markets.

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TERM 2

Infrastructure companies have generally been an island of stability during the financial crisis, policymakers, regulators and markets are now focusing on their critical role in ensuring not only the efficiency, but the stability of financial markets. A proper understanding of the role of these companies has become a must for financial practitioners. This course will review thoroughly the activities and competitive environment of the key financial market infrastructures, as well as the regulatory context in which they operate and its impact on financial markets, in particular in the EU and the US.

The trading module examines in detail at the history and the role of both equity and derivative exchanges. We will examine the major trends shaping the future of exchanges including competition & globalization, demutualization & consolidation, technology and regulation and describe their impact on exchanges and financial markets. The module will explain the different trading models of exchanges and in particular how exchanges attract liquidity as well as their impact on market quality, institutional order flows. A particular chapter will also look at listings, IPOs and the exchange environment from the issuers’ perspective. It will detail the breadth new services being offered by exchanges. It will also review and compare market surveillance mechanisms and relevant regulations in Europe (such as MiFID, EMIR, MAD) and in the US (such as Reg NMS, Dodd-Franck). Finally, it will examine current market trends, such as high frequency trading, and analyses recent market events such as the Flash Crash.

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The course will be organized around the relationship between market integration and policy integration for European financial services. In Europe, financial market integration has been much more rapid than policy integration. Financial prudential regulation has long been a subject of EU competence but with many caveats and also financial supervision and financial crisis resolution remained purely national prerogatives. This situation was even true in the euro area where the single currency resulted in even greater market integration than in the EU in general, yet financial stability policy was no more integrated there than in the EU. As a result both the EU in general and the euro area in particular were ill-prepared to both deal with the financial crisis and to exit from it. The crisis has been a catalyst for change, with new European policies and institutions to improve financial stability, including a banking union with three pillars – a Single Rule Book, a Single Supervisory Mechanism and a Single Resolution Mechanism – that have been politically agreed and started to operate in 2014 and 2015.. These three pillars will be analyzed from both a micro- and a macro-prudential angle, and will be compared to the situation in other jurisdictions, in particular the USA and some Asian countries. With respect to the Single Rule Book, the course will in particular look at the risk-based single rulebook for financial institution (namely Basel3 and Solvency 2 guidelines), and at those regulatory initiatives that have made market integration easier and closer to citizens (namely SEPA and other initiatives in the retail payment area such as a greater harmonization of deposit guarantee regimes). For the Single Supervision Mechanism, the course will cover both micro- and macro-prudential issues. Finally, for the Single Resolution Mechanism, the course will look e.g. at preventive (possibly differentiated per type of institution) and early intervention measures. The course will also look at other initiatives that are being pursued both to deepen the Banking Union (eg the discussion on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme) and to enlarge it both geographically and beyond banks (in particular the Capital Markets Union and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) initiatives. The ambition of the course is to look, with an open and critical attitude, at both the issues that have already been addressed and those that are still pending.

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This course is intended to provide practitioners and researchers with the insights one can gain from financial history. The aim of the course is thus to show what history can bring to finance notably by analyzing long term relationships. In this respect it will deal, among others, with the Equity Premium on the long term, or with the long term implications of sovereign debt defaults etc… The course will also analyze events which do not occur frequently and for which history can bring meaningful insights (Speculative bubbles, wars, secessions or repudiations…)
A strong focus is made on financial markets and credit. A large part of the course is dedicated to sovereign debts. This course is particularly relevant in the framework of the recent financial crisis. The crisis has indeed shown that in troubled times the mainstream approaches may prove too limited. A good knowledge of history should allow practitioners to assess the risk in a deeper way and with a larger time horizon than usually encountered.

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This course explores the most specific aspects of investment banking, namely those around corporate finance and primary markets. As such, the course examines a comprehensive set of financial situations that arise in companies and is designed to provide students with a practical understanding of such topics like initial public offering (IPO) and other equity capital market instruments, bond offerings, syndicated lending, mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Other more specific financing structures such as leverage-buy-out (LBO) and asset securitization are also reviewed. The institutional aspects of investment banking, the conflicts of interest issues and in general the role of compliance and ethics in investment banking will also be covered.

The course draws to a large extent upon analytical techniques provided in previous courses, deepens and extends the core theory introduced in those courses by examining applications. The theoretical background will be completed with case studies that will constitute the basis for most class discussions.

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TERM 3

The objective of the course is to delve in the different types of risks and the framework of risk management. The course will enable students to understand the concepts and the jargon and how risk managers must become sceptics. The course will explain the risk typology and describe in detail credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, operational risk, and reputation risk. It will articulate the concepts and technical tools used in risk measurement and management, including credit risk algebra, the statistical properties of ratings, V@R theory and V@R computation, the use of stress tests, and key risk indicators. It will also illustrate these in respect of a range of transactions or instruments, such as counterparty situations, collateral posting, repos and securities lending, as well as securitization. It will look at both pre- and post trade risk control, as well as explain how risk can be reduced or managed through settlement and central counterparty structures. It will describe risk appetite and risk tolerance and explain the importance of risk capital, as both a common unit of measure and a basis for shadow pricing. The course will be probing and fun, using real-life case studies and trading games to illustrate the relevance of theoretical teaching.

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This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the nature of hedge funds and of their activities. It will describe hedge funds and their risk / return profile, fee structure, and their legal structure, explain the rationale for investing in hedge Funds (whether for returns, for risk reduction, or risk seeking) and articulate how this may fit in a wider portfolio. The course will describe and assess the different possible strategies used in hedge Fund investing. It will compare hedge f-Funds with funds of hedge funds, explaining the potential added value of a fund of hedge Funds with another layer of fees. It will review the profile of hedge Fund Investors and examine the emergence of managed accounts in the hedge Fund space. It will also set out in practical terms how to perform a proper due diligence. The course will be based on significant quantitative analysis and sophisticated tools to measure ex-ante risk factors hedge Fund investments, as well as the risk and the expected return of an entire hedge Fund portfolio, which are typically not available in university classes. The course will illustrate relevant aspects through case studies, including the Madoff case.

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This course examines how assets are being serviced by the chain of financial intermediaries after trades have been done. It focuses on the services provided not only to asset holders but also to issuers, giving a complete view of the chain of intermediation between holders and issuers. The course develops in depth the key repo and collateral management segments, which are a critical component of the current financial markets:

The following topics will therefore be covered during the course:

  • How assets are being safe kept and serviced: the intermediary chain from clients through asset managers, global custodians until it gets to infrastructure companies.
  • Key services being offered at each level, for instance securities lending, collateral management services, clearing services, and triparty services.
  • The challenges in the collateral and liquidity management domain
  • The functioning of investment funds, pension funds, ETFs, money-market funds
  • The services offered to issuers of securities (mostly debt securities and depository receipts)
  • The functioning of asset-backed securities, SPVs, CDOs, …

For each of these topics the course will explain the roles and responsibilities of each actor in the chain. The trends, challenges, risks and evolution of the activity, and the drivers of success, will furthermore be articulated.

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The course provides students with the opportunity to acquire a thorough understanding of the main issues and the complex interactions in the management of modern financial services firms (FSFs), banks and insurance companies in particular. This will include inter alia analyses of capital needs in banks and insurance companies (under Basle III and Insolvency II), the challenges and techniques of liquidity management post-crisis, asset and liability management models and risk-adjusted return on capital models. By the end of the course, students will have the ability to (1) identify and understand trends in the economic and regulatory environment in which FSFs operate, (2) articulate and understand strategic issues in financial intermediation, (3) master up-to-date analytical and quantitative tools to analyse return/risk trade-offs in FSFs, (4) understand and implement tools to manage assets, liabilities and capital, (5) confront evidence obtained in cases with the acquired body of theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field, and (6) critically assess the changing nature of financial intermediation. Guest speakers will add further practice to theory. Students will analyse and present a number of cases in teams.

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This course provides a practitioner’s insight into how a bank and an insurance company handle their Assets and Liabilities Management (ALM) and how they seek to manage their balance sheet and P/L (profit and loss account) in the face the new regulatory environment, and in particular the Basle 3 and Solvency II solvency, liquidity and leverage requirements.
The course covers the fundamentals of ALM of a bank and an insurance company, managing the risks arising from assets and liabilities mismatches. It reviews in particular the management of interest rate and liquidity risks, as well as transfer pricing issues and commercial margins monitoring. The course also dissects how hedges are used in bank’s hedge accounting format, to mitigate the P/L volatility and protect NAV.
It also examines in a practical way how new / advancing accounting rules impact a bank’s balance sheet and P/L, in particular the valuation of financial instruments, including derivatives. It analyses the key issues for banks deriving from the shift to IFRS rules (from IAS39 to IFRS 9), the assessment of fair values and the need for fair value adjustments, including Credit Value Adjustment (CVA), Debit Value Adjustment (DVA), and Funding Value Adjustment (FVA) for derivatives.

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TERM 4

This course gives an overview of the Private Equity industry, which is playing a paramount role in financing the real economy. Its influence has increased dramatically over the past few years and investors have been allocating unprecedented amounts of capital to this type of strategy.

The course helps Participants understand why investors are getting involved, what sort of risk premium they seek and the roles private equity plays in their portfolios.

It focuses on the different types of private equity funds by bringing in experts of relevant fields, such as

  • infrastructure
  • leverage buyout
  • venture capital
  • growth equity
  • private credit

The course is articulated around several case studies and expands on the latest trends and insights one should know about this market.

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The course shall make the students acquainted with relevant topics related to the construction of portfolios and investments. We start with basics on portfolio construction and asset allocation, then turn to the question whether markets are efficient. Although this question cannot be answered, the attendees will have deeper insights in potential reasons for, and consequence of, market (in-) efficiency. The course will help to better interact with other market participants.

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The 2007-2008 banking crisis has challenged many assumptions about both central banking and banking regulation, leading to many evolutions which the course will discuss. First, central banks have been called upon to actively contribute to financial stability, while the earlier period had stressed much more their role in controlling inflation. Their actions have been decisive in avoiding a meltdown of financial markets following for example the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. They are moreover called upon more and more to substitute for the limits of fiscal policy. The course will address the pros and cons of central bank activism in the current environment. Banking regulation has been questioned following the crisis, too, and for good reasons: the Basel-II framework has proved unable to prevent massive bailouts and a financial crisis that has led to the Great Recession. Basel-III tries to address this failure by requiring more and better capital, by introducing liquidity requirements and by adding a macroprudential leg to banking regulation. This comes next to initiatives to regulate bank structures (Vickers, Volcker, Liikanen), bank governance and compensation, or shadow banking for example. The course will discuss the implications of these initiatives for bank resilience as well as for the evolution of the banking landscape.

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The course introduces the participants to competition strategies in financial markets and the competition policy issues that these strategies invoke. The main focus is on pricing strategies while the explicit nature of financial intermediation as a distinct economic activity is taken into account. Participants obtain insights on competition in a financial market and become fluent translators between their business, competition lawyers, competition economists and antitrust enforcers and regulators when and where competition issues are involved. The legal framework of competition policy is taken as given and briefly introduced, to serve as the foundation for analyzing the impact of competitive strategies and competition policy as enforced by antitrust authorities and regulatory agencies.

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TERM 5

At the end of these courses, students will perform a three-month internship in a leading financial institution. The programme coordinator helps find internship opportunities. Internships have taken place in institutions in Belgium and abroad, like the European Commission, BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius KBC, ING, Deloitte, E&Y, PWC, Bank of New York Mellon, Euroclear Bank, SWIFT, and banks,and several prestigious asset managers, private banks and other firms.

Participants may submit a master thesis on a relevant topic as an alternative to the internship.

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Practical information: Summary

  • Starting date: September 11th 2017
  • Location: Brussels
  • Format: Full-time
    Evening and saturday classes
  • Language: English
  • Tuition: 15,000€
  • Length: 11 months
  • Application deadline: July 31st 2017

Upcoming events

< 2017 >
April
  • 28

    15:00 -18:00
    28-04-2017
    Avenue Adolphe Buyl 87a 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique
    Meet us from 3pm to 6pm at the stand "Formation continue" of the information session about ULB Masters and Phds.Location: ULB Solbosch campus - K building
  • 30

    All day
    30-04-2017
    Don't forget to send your application by April 30th and get a chance of joining the first edition of the Advanced Master in Political Economy in August 2017!
“It’s arguably one of the best investments you can make as a young professional to prepare yourself for the financial markets industry.”
Jos, Alumni 2014
“If you want to do a master in financial markets with the best quality of professors and have a great learning experience, you should choose this one.”
Emmanuel, Alumni 201'
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Constance

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